Nine Elkhart firefighters honored for heroic rescues

Nine Elkhart firefighters were honored with the Crouch-Freed Award Wednesday night for their heroic rescues in 2012.

Each year, the Elkhart Evening Optimists award the honor to public servants or civilians who go above and beyond to help save a life.

The Optimists say Elkhart firefighters did so on two occasions in 2012.

In September, firefighters responded to a structure fire just down the street from their station, at 615 East Street.

"When it got down to it, it pretty much took up the entire block," said Lt. Marty Dyer, who responded to the call. "It had two houses involved in it, an apartment building, and a large structure."

As flames poured out of the buildings, several firefighters risked their lives to save others, pulling three people out of the inferno.

Just a couple weeks after that bad blaze, Elkhart firefighters responded to a call on Union Street, where three people were injured and one had to be pulled from the building.

While the firefighters maintain they're just doing their jobs, other Elkhart residents say what they did is extraordinary.

"For one night, break down that humbleness and accept it," said Elkhart Mayor Dick Moore. "I'm really proud of them."

Lt. Nick Hintz, Cameron Harris, Lt. Marty Dyer, Kevin Alber, Chris Miller, Wade Snider, Peter Svetanoff, Marcus Hurtt and Cary Dygert were all presented with the Crouch-Freed Award.

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